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Brother’s Drastic Personality Change

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My (half) brother is 46 and has always been a sensitive caring person from childhood on. In the past 7 yrs or so he has developed an alcohol problem. My best guess is he drinks daily, perhaps a 6 pack per night. He also smokes pot.

He was never disrespectful to our now elderly mom and he has always been close to me and our sister; even referring to me as his “hero” This has all changed over 3 years or less.

Today, because he was raging at a family member, I asked “what is WRONG with you?” He attacked verbally. He spit at me, called me, mom, and her husband horrible names and told me twice he hopes I die! What causes this?

He has let his hygiene go, his house is unfit to live in and I worry about him but mostly the impact on his 5 year old special needs son who doesn’t live there but has visitation. The little guy was triggered–he has seen his mommy and daddy argue loudly since infancy. He has also witnessed his mom hitting his dad. They aren’t married and the little guy lives with her.

Our elderly mom sobs that her family is falling apart. My brother and sister just lost their father in January (their dad sexually abused me and was verbally and sometimes physically abusive to them) so I know my brother is grieving but his rage and verbal abuse has been going on for a few years now. He refuses to get help! I reported to DHS once (when my nephew was 10 months old) due to drinking and anger issues with both parents (not at my nephew)and they denied any problems, the house wasn’t bad back then. I was banned from seeing the little one for nearly 2 years because I tried to protect him. What can I do to get my brother some help? I thought he was going to punch me in the face today! Thank you!

Brother’s Drastic Personality Change

Answered by on -


The best way to help him is to help yourself. This is a time for you and others to attend Al-Anon. This is a 12-step support group for family and friends dealing with someone with a drinking problem. Give yourself the benefit of going to a group that can help you find answers for coping with him. You can also try some individual therapy to go along with this. The ‘Find Help’ tab at the top of this page will help you find someone in your area.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Brother’s Drastic Personality Change

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Brother’s Drastic Personality Change. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 1 Apr 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.